The Health Benefits of Fish

How healthy is fish and what are the best types of fish to eat?

Fish belong to the family of aquatic vertebrates. It is believed that there are more than 24, 000 species of fishes in the world, most are cold-blooded. This ability allows the organism to adapt to temperature changes in its environment. They are found in almost all water bodies in the world, even in depths of the deepest oceans.

Fishes are often known by their gills that help them breathe underwater and their fins that help them move. Their skeletons are made of bones, except that of the Shark that is made of cartilage. Fish come in different sizes and shapes. The largest is the Blue Whale and the smallest, the Stout Infantfish.

Fishes are reared for commercial and subsistence purposes. They are hunted in bodies of water and reared in ponds or cages in the oceans. Some are kept as pets, others are displayed in public aquaria. 

Importance of Fish:

Fishes are very beneficial resources for humans. They are mostly used for food but they also serve other purposes. 

  • Fishes have economic importance. They serve as a source of income and employment in many countries. They also serve as food and their by-products are used for other beneficial purposes. Some of these by-products include Fish Oil, Fish Manure, Fish Glue, Isinglass used in producing wine, beer and special cement, skins of sharks and rays used in producing covers of jewelry boxes and in polishing wood, production of leather, production of artificial pearls.
  • Fishes also have cultural and educational importance. They are used as religious and sacred symbols. They also serve as subject topics in arts, literature, and music.
  • Fishes also serve recreational and entertainment purposes. They serve as pets and displays for the public, such as in an aquarium. They are also used to beautify homes, outdoor spaces, and offices. As pets, they could serve as a source of pleasure. 
  • They are also used for medical purposes; their by-products are very beneficial for the production of drugs to treat and correct several ailments. An example if the Cod Liver Oil.

As food, Fish is known to be one of the healthiest in the world. The health benefits include:

  • It supplies omega-3 fatty acids that are amazingly great for the brain and the entire body.
  • Fishes are high in very important nutrients that most people seem to lack. These nutrients include high-quality protein, iodine, vitamin D and Omega 3 acids.
  • Another health benefit of fish is that it reduces the risks of having strokes, heart attacks and losing one’s life from heart diseases. Studies have shown that people who eat more fish weekly have lower risk percentage of having heart diseases.
  • Fishes, as a source of omega 3 acids are very beneficial to healthy development. This is why pregnant and breastfeeding mothers are advised to get a sufficient intake of omega-3 fatty acids.
  • With aging comes reduced performances in almost every organ of the body and that includes the brain. Intake of healthy fish helps to reduce the rate of this mental decline.
  • Intake of healthy fish helps improve emotional health and reduces the risks of depression. Many tests have shown that omega-3 fatty acids are instrumental in reducing depression.
  • Fishes are great sources of Vitamin D. Vitamin aids in maintaining blood levels of calcium and phosphorus. It is important for the building of strong healthy bones.
  • Intake of healthy fish also helps with better vision as one age.
  • Intake of healthy fish has been known to reduce the risk of asthma in children.
  • Fishes are very beneficial in the regeneration of muscle, dealing with stress and recovering from fatigue.
  • Fishes help to treat liver diseases. Studies have shown that one of the nutrients supplied by fish, omega-3 fatty acid is very helpful in treating liver diseases.
  • Regular intake of healthy fish also helps to improve focus and concentration.
  • Vitamin D, which is supplied by fish has been said to be able to help reduce the risk of autoimmune diseases such as Type 1 Diabetes.
  • Regular intake of healthy fish has also been shown to reduce the risks of cancer, increase metabolism rates and oxidize fat.
  • Fish Oil has been shown to every helpful in reducing the risk of high blood pressure, because of its omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Studies have also shown that omega-2 fatty acids help reduce the level of bad cholesterol in the body.
  • Regular intake of healthy fish also helps with sleeping. This is due to the Vitamin D it supplies the body.

Talking about the health benefits of fish would create a very long list. However, not all fishes are considered healthy enough to be eaten.

Certain fishes to avoid especially because of their high levels of mercury are Chilean Sea Bass, Salmon (farmed), Grouper, Bluefin Tuna, Monkfish, Orange Roughy.

Healthy Fishes:

Many species of fishes are eaten as food, however some are healthier than others. Examples include:

  • Alaskan Salmon: This fish is known to be very rich in vitamins and omega -3 fatty acids.
  • Cod: This white fish is rich in phosphorus, niacin, protein and vitamin -12.
  • Mahi-Mahi: This is also known as Dolphin fish and is also rich in needed vitamins.
  • Mackerel: This fish is a supplier of healthy fats.
  • Sardines: This fish is also rich in omega-3 fatty acids and one of the few fishes that are sources of Vitamin D.
  • Albacore Tuna: The Tuna fish is also a rich source of vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Oysters (farmed): This fish is a rich source of both omega-3 fatty acids and iron.
  • Tilapia: The Tilapia fish is known to be the healthiest fish and is the fourth most consumed fish in the United States. It has a mild taste and is relatively affordable and easy to prepare. This fish is a very rich source of protein, fats, vitamins, phosphorus, selenium, potassium and vitamin B-12. Tilapia is a lean source of protein and it also supplies omega-3 fatty acids.

Others include Wild Alaskan Pollock, Arctic Char, Herring, Striped Bass, and Rainbow Trout.

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